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Touring La Jolla's masterpiece.

Ocean, canyon, sky--architect Louis Kahn began with these natural elements when the designed The Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla. Finished in 1965, the elegant, monumental building is one of Sothern California's major architectural landmarks and Kahn's most famous work in the West. You can take a free tour, then stop for lunch at the cafe overlooking the landscape that inspired Kahn's masterpiece.

Founded by biologist Jonas Salk of polio vaccine fame, the institute is one of the world's largest independent research facilities. More than 500 research scientists and support staff study genetics, immunology, and neurobiology, hoping to discover how the brain creates hormones and how the deaf use their sense of sight.

A half-hour docent-guided tour begins in the outdoor plaza. While you don't enter the labs, you do visit service floors filled with Rube Goldberg-like auxiliary equipment. In a control room, you'll see a demonstration of the institute's complexity: a wall-size, blinking computer panel that monitors temperature, humidity, and other factors in all 36 labs. Outside, pause to take in the view of Indian Canyon; you may glimpse swooping hang gliders descending from a nearby glider port.

Tours are usually conducted Mondays through Fridays at 11, noon, 1, and 2; call (619) 453-4100 to verify. Cafe hours are weekdays 7:30 to 2. The institute is 15 miles north of downtown San Diego, at 10010 N. Torrey Pines Road. Exit Interstate 5 at Genesee Avenue; head about 1 mile west to N. Torrey Pines Road. Drive south about 1/3 mile to the institute.
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Title Annotation:Salk Institute
Date:Mar 1, 1985
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